Her Majesty at Maulud gathering
By Siti Hajar

Despite the advances Bruneian women have made over the past years in their respective fields of occupation and achieving their goals, it was observed that high-aspiring women can still cope with the other responsibilities they have been entrusted with.

In her opening remarks during the opening of the Maulud Nabi gathering for women yesterday held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas, the event's co-chairperson Dr Hajah Masnon binti Haji Ibrahim highlighted that, " Women today, apart from contributing to the country's development, seek opportunities and continuously learn. They also attend to their families, community, country and people."

This, she said, "Leads them towards self-preservation from moral harm."

Present during the opening ceremony were Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha accompanied by members of the royal family including Her Royal Highness Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah as well as Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Amal Umi Kalthum Al-Islam.

Dr Hajah Masnon, who is also the Ra'es of Seri Begawan Religious Teachers University College, was addressing hundreds of women - retired and still in service, young and old - during the ceremony.

Held annually over the last 17 years, this year's theme, "Pious Women are the Rescuers of the Ummah", gives virtue to women in Islamic history who have sacrificed for their belief and also for the women who have contributed for the nation's future.

The event began with the recital of al-Quran that was read by runner-up for the International al-Quran Reading Competition 2010, Nurfaezah binti Haji Emran and was narrated in Malay by Siti Zauyah binti Mohd Daud from the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Part of the morning programme also included a special lecture by Dr Lily Suzana binti Haji Shamsu, lecturer at Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali followed by a poetry recital by Hajah Siti Mahyana binti Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Yahya and Hajah Siti Rojimah binti Pehin Khatib Dato Paduka Haji Siraj.

A dikir marhaban performance was also carried out that involved the collaboration between officers and staff from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Ministry of Health and members of the National Women's Council followed by a recital of doa selamat by Datin Hajah Maznah binti Haji Mohammad.

The event, which invited only women, was co-organised by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Health and the Women's Council including its sister associations.

Three outstanding females were recognised during the function and were awarded for their contributions to the nation. - Borneo Bulletin (27th February 2011)